OTHELLO – David Austin shrub rose is one of the earlier Austin’s but is still very popular today


Bred by David Austin, UK, 1987 I am usually able to identify this rose because it is dark crimson red which ages to purple. As it becomes purple, there is a noticeable hint of orange through the purple and it has huge blooms with masses of ruffled petals. The plethora of thorns are also a good identifier.

Othello is a vigorous, upright bush which grows to about 1.5mtrs and is one of the Austin roses which should definitely be grown in a group of no less than three plants and never, ever pruned back more than half so that new water-shoots are protected by older branches and will not snap in the wind.

The fragrance is strong, fruity, old-rose and the foliage is plentiful. In very damp, humid conditions, Othello can succumb to powdery mildew which can be controlled by planting in very open situation and not planting too many other plants around the base.

  • An old favourite David Austin rose
  • Distinct dark crimson red which fades to purple
  • Fruity old rose fragrance
  • Vigorous growth suited to tall rose border


The generally sunny, dry and hot conditions of the Australian garden are particularly well suited to planting roses and roses flourish in our gardens when you take measures to provide the following:

WATER – Roses are very deep rooted plants and require one good, deep soaking at least every 10 days in hot and dry conditions.

FEED – Because roses flower throughout all but the Winter season, they should be regularly fertilized with quality (preferably organic) fertilizer which contains a balance of major nutrients (NPK) and trace elements. The fertilizer should be applied at least once a month – small amount often – with fortnightly applications of liquid seaweed over the foliage.

PRUNE – During Winter, 70% of the rose plant should be pruned and all old wood removed back to the crown and the bush pruned to shape.
During the flowering seasons, 25% of all flowering stems should be cut back after flowering to encourage strong re-growth.

MULCH – Particular attention to application of lucerne or pea straw directly around the root-zone of each rose will enhance the overall health of the rose and then the whole bed should be mulched to 75mm with any other mulch medium available.

8 Replies to “OTHELLO – David Austin shrub rose is one of the earlier Austin’s but is still very popular today”

  1. Hi, I lost my standard Othello because of new grower ignorance several years ago. Too much fertilizer. My Othello cost me a heap from the nursery but was worth every cent. The plant was the best rose I have ever owned with huge blooms and the strongest perfume. My wife loved it. I am looking to purchase a well established Othello plant either a standard or a normal size. Price doesn’t matter. We now have over 40 beautiful tea roses but nothing will ever compare with the Othello I lost. Do you have any ideas where I can start looking? Regards, Nick Brent, Penrith NSW

    1. Hi Nick … although I’ve been in touch with you via email, will respond here too … will keep checking to see if I can find Othello listed and keep you informed accordingly! Best wishes ..

  2. I have really enjoyed “Othello ” which was a gift from my son. I would like to acquire another Othello rose if possible.

    1. Hello … if you are in Australia (not WA or TAS) then I can post you a lovely specimen this winter … please call me to confirm and pay for this order on 03 5787 1123 and a rose will be sent in June … Diana

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